tv Democracy Now LINKTV June 28, 2012 8:00am-9:00am PDT
>> as the drug war rages in mexico, voters head to the polls sunday to choose a new president. will the pri comeback to power or will andrés manuel lópez obrador pull off an upset? we will go to mexico city for the latest. the operation fast and furious. attorney general eric holder faces a contempt vote by house republicans today over his handling of the gun smuggling sting operation. we'll speak to fortune writer katherine eban about the truth on the fast and furious scandal. as the supreme court issues its landmark decision of president and his health care reform law, we will look at, "escape fire: the fight to rescue american healthcare." >> the american health care system is generating rivers of money flowing into very few pockets. >> executive level, what is most important is meeting wall street's expectations. they have to grit by law, they
have to serve the shareholder. he almost forget what you're doing is providing health care. >> all of that and more coming up. this is "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. the supreme court is set to issue its decision today on the constitutionality of the affordable care act, the landmark healthcare reform bill signed by president obama two years ago. the case heavily focuses on the so-called individual mandate, which requires most people buy health insurance by 2014 or pay a tax penalty. the court will decide whether to strike down the mandate and determine whether the rest of the law can stand. coming on the last of the supreme court's term, the ruling will have major implications not just for the nation's health- care system, but also the 2012 election race and beyond. in a speech ahead of the decision, president obama defended his law. >> it is the right thing to do.
we got 3 million young people on their parents' health insurance plan that did not have it before. it is the right thing to do to give seniors discounts on the prescription drugs. it is the right thing to do to give 30 million americans health insurance that did not have it before. >> republican candidate mitt romney has called for the law's repeal despite its similarity to the mandate based healthcare measure he oversaw as massachusetts governor. at a campaign event in virginia, romney said the law's days are numbered 3 >> if obamacare is not deemed constitutional, the first 3 1/2 years will have been wasted on something that has not helped the american people. if it is deemed to stand, then i will tell you one thing, we're going to have to cover president that is getting rid of obamacare. we will stop it on day one. >> to an end to democracynow.org for our live
coverage for the supreme court health care coverage beginning at 10:00 eastern standard time today. violence continues to spread to the syrian capital of damascus in the conflict between the regime of bashar al-assad and rebel forces seeking its overthrow. two bombs exploded outside the palace of justice in central damascus earlier today, with no immediate word on casualties. the attack comes one day after gunmen killed seven people in an attack on a pro-government television station near the capital. the united nations is warning human rights violations by both sides of the syria conflict are intensifying, with extrajudicial and sectarian killings on the rise. speaking in geneva, the investigator said the u.n.'s findings could be used one day in prosecution of syrian officials for war crimes. >> we did something that common with some commissions of inquiry that we provided a list of names in units of the military
force or security sections of the government's hear the based on our evidence would be able to be investigated as been responsible for gross human rights violations and international crimes. >> the assad regime continues to face new tensions with neighboring turkey following syria's's downing of a turkish fighter jet in syrian airspace. earlier today, turkey began deploying military convoys carrying anti-aircraft weapons to its border with syria in a speech, the turkish prime minister said he would not refrain from retaliating against syria if provoked. >> we will not refrain from teaching a lesson to the state that has lost its
legitimacy in the eye of the people. and trying to test turkey's great s. >> at least 13 people have been killed and more than 50 wounded in a series of bombings in and around the iraqi capital baghdad. it was the latest in a recent wave of sectarian attacks targeting mainly shi'ites that have killed more than 150 people. new information shows the mass of laws by j.p. morgan chase from a risky derivatives that may total as much as $9 billion, far higher than the previous estimates. the bank faced an outcry last month following the disclosure it lost up to $3 billion in trades that it was warned carried high risk. "new york times" report in the bank's own projection showed as early as april the losses could total up to three times that amount. the banking giant barclays has agreed to pay a $453 million fine to u.s. and british authorities from in manipulating
key interest rates. a british probe found they conspired to manipulate the london interbank offered rate, which provides the basis for rates on trillions of dollars in transactions across the globe. the manipulation meant millions of borrowers pay the wrong amount on their loans. the justice department probe of barclays is continuing and other banks are expected to be implicated. in global warming news, arctic sea ice has melted faster this year than ever before in recorded history. research from the national snow and ice data center show the extent of the sea ice earlier this month was hundreds of thousands of square miles less than it was on the same day in 2007, and about 12,000 square miles less than the previous record low in 2010. researchers say the ice has been melting at more than double the climatological rate and have attributed the increased melting to climate change. the news comes amidst a spate of extreme weather in the u.s., with wildfires tearing through
colorado and record rainfall in florida. the obama administration says it expects to authorize the oil giant shell's bid to drill in the alaskan arctic. alaska native groups and environmental groups have opposed the effort, saying the federal government has failed to properly consider the risks. speaking this week, ken salazar said it is highly likely he will grant the permits to begin drilling as early as next month. citing recent tests by shell in washington state's puget sound, salazar said -- just last week, the obama administration conducted a 1 plus $7 billion auction for drilling in the gulf of mexico for the first time since the area was hit by the worst oil spill in u.s. history. a federal judge in florida has rejected the federal government's effort to halt the state's controversial voter
purge. the justice department had asked the court to stop florida's efforts to remove thousands of registered voters from the rolls for official said are not u.s. citizens. critics say 87% of those targeted are people of color and say the purge is part of an effort to disenfranchise democratic voters in a key election state. a number of florida counties had already frozen their involvement following the justice department's objections but wednesday's ruling could mean the purge resumes. the house is set to vote on holding attorney general of agriculture in content today for failing to meet republican demands and a congressional probe into the controversial gun sting operation known as the fast and free areas. the operation saw u.s. agents encouraging the sale of thousands of guns to middlemen from mexican cartels in an attempt to gain access to senior level figures within mexico's criminal organizations. at least four democrats are expected to vote with republicans in an attempt to
retain the endorsement of the national rifle association, which backs the effort against eric holder. we will have more on the boat and operation fast and furious later in the broadcast. senate leaders have finalized a tentative deal to avoid a doubling of low-interest rates on student loans. the washington post reports students are still facing major changes that will lead to billions of dollars in increases on student loan payments. starting on sunday, students pursuing graduate degrees will need to start paying their federal loans while they're still in school and immediately after graduation. leading to an increase of $18 billion in loan payments over the coming decade. the government felt also stopped covering interest on undergraduate loans -- also stepped covering interest on undergraduate loans, meaning students will start accumulating interest right away. the changes have been recently
overshadowed as lawmakers scrambled to prevent a spike in interest rates. new research shows states have passed stand your ground laws -- such as the one invoked by george zimmerman to defend his killing of trayvon martin in florida -- have seen more homicides after the laws were approved. two doctoral students at georgia state university say their findings show up to 7.4 additional people are killed each month as a result of the law's passage. the research also shows that states with such laws "have a higher percentage of black population, are more likely that a republican governor, higher incarceration rates and more police officers and have a higher poverty rate." the authors conclude -- newly released documents show jurors a moment failed at least two times to identify himself as a neighborhood watchman before he shot trayvon martin dead.
a police investigator concluded zimmerman had a least two opportunities to diffuse his encounter with trayvon martin, but failed to do so. activists gathered in new york's times square wednesday to call for international regulation of the global arms trade. amnesty international has launched a campaign for global arms trade treaty under the auspices of the united nations. amnesty usa said, weapons are too easily available worldwide. >> the first treaty that regulates the trade and arms the results in the death of 1500 people every day, half a million people every year in conflicts around the world. we have used the banana as are my teeth because we discovered, to our astonishment, that bananas are more heavily regulated and small arms. there are more rules governing your ability to trade a banana from one country to the next and governing the ability to trade a military helicopter or weapon.
>> this is "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. >> welcome to all our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. we begin today's show in mexico where voters head to the polls on sunday in a historic election to pick president felipe calderón's replacement as well as candidates and the national legislature, 6 governorships, and 15 state assemblies. since calderón took office six years ago, more than 50,000 mexicans have been killed in the nation's bloody drug war. hundreds of thousands have been displaced. calderón's conservative national action party is polling poorly ahead of sunday's vote. the two leading candidates have both proposed rethinking how mexico deals with drug trafficking. the frontrunner in sunday's race is enrique peña nieto of the pri, the party that ruled mexico from 1929 to 2000. in second is leftist candidate, andrés manuel lópez obrador, who
nearly lost the 2006 race to calderón. this is enrique peña nieto speaking at a rally on wednesday. >> we are only four days away from winning the presidency of the republic. we are ahead in the polls, but anyway, this could allow us to be complacent. on the contrary, this is the moment in which we must keep going and assure with your free participation, your informed vote, this july 1, that we can really accomplished a conclusive victory that cannot be objected to. that is what we want to accomplish on july 1. >> meanwhile, andrés manuel lópez obrador received a surge
of popularity thanks in part to a growing national student movement against the return of the pri to power. the movement known as yo soy has been inspired by occupy wall street and the protests in spain. andrés manuel lópez obrador is the former mayor of mexico city and addressed his followers on the final day of campaigning. >> i come to tell you that we are doing well. the end of the campaign is strong. the strategy of others has failed. tell the people that there will be justice because we're going to end corruption. what is it we're voting for on july 1? we are choosing if we want corruption or want honesty.
things are that clear. voting for the pri, voting for enrique peña nieto is voting for corruption. >> to talk more about the elections, we go directly to mexico city to speak with two guests. tania molina is a journalist at the main progressive national newspaper in mexico increasing a pamphlet for zuccotti park press by and about the yo soy 132 student movement in mexico. we're also joined by videostream by john ackerman, editor of the mexican law review and professor at the national autonomous university in mexico. is also a columnist. we welcome you both to "democracy now!" tania molina, can you explain the significance, what is at stake in this sunday's election? >> what did you say? >> what is at stake in this
election on sunday? talk about the significance of it. >> first of all, it is a pleasure to be with you on "democracy now!" at stake is as andrés manuel lópez obrador was saying in the speech that you ran, it is between the comeback of the old regime and the continuation of a regime that has only brought us 60,000 deaths in a war against drug trafficking that has not worked at all. >> in terms of the resurgence of lopez obrador in recent weeks, could you talk more about the movement, the student movement that has helped to propel him ford and how it
started? what is the name signify of the movement? >> it all began in mexican university, a private university. it was a big surprise for everyone. the students were at any event with the free candidate enrique peña nieto, and they confronted him. it was a big surprise because it was a private university with, we could say, a privileged students. suddenly, there he was with a roomful of -- well, with many students telling him about his of authoritarian past and about the corruption that he is linked
with. the thing was, after the movement, after that day, the event, which was on may 11, the media -- the main media and the mainstream media and the big political people were saying that this is something that was created by lopez obrador and it is manipulated, that these were not students. so the next day, the students were on a video on youtube holding up their credentials and saying, "this is us. we are students. this is an authentic movement." that is what triggered the movement. it was the media saying these
were not authentic students and the pri tried to minimize the movement, which was not a movement at that moment. >> so this is how they came to you because they are 132 students that confronted him? >> 131. the 132 is the mexican population is in solidarity with them. >> we're also joined by john ackerman also in mexico city. john, calderón p. lopez obrador last time, some say he stole the election. so talk about the significance of who lopez obrador is in his connection to these students inspired also by the occupy movement here and the united states. >> six years ago, calderón
officially came ahead half a percentage point. this was similar to 2000 with gore versus bush. many people thought lopez obrador had one and fraud was committed, which would not have been something new and mexican elections. lopez obrador over the last six years basically has been a grassroots campaign. he has visited every single little municipality or large miss appellate, including all the indigenous municipalities in the state of oaxaca. he basically has conducted a ground campaign for the last six years with very little money, not much financing or funding. in contrast, enrique peña nieto 's campaign has been run by the television duopoly.
we of corporate media anywhere in the world, but in mexico, this is sort of over the top because we have two television stations who control 95% of all the channels. let four national channels. many local channels. they are really controlling what is and is not news. most mexicans get their information through television. these stations have cut a deal with enrique peña nieto over the last four or five years and promoting his image incessantly over these years. we ever really radical contrast in terms of not only proposals and political ideology, but real styles of campaigning and who each of these candidates represented. >> john ackerman, could you talk about the guardian articles that reveal that enrique peña nieto had actually been paying the networks to get some favorable
coverage? >> yes, this is very important coverage done by the "guardian." with a reporter here -- some of the information had already come out in local media, the international attention in the documents provided has been important to demonstrate what most mexicans kind of already knew, which is that these television stations are behind the candidate, but particularly scandalous there has been millions of dollars funneled both from the state of mexico, which is where enrique peña nieto was governor, and other sources we do not know about, to literally purchase coverage to assure the television stations give him -- it would be news unrelated to the state of mexico 3 frequently were he was governor, and all of the sudden they would go to the state of mexico to interview him or his
advisers about some sort of national issue. it was a classic case of manipulation, direct support by television stations. it was not a public endorsement. they were not honest about it. that is what led to the scandal. it was designing their news programs and coverage so west to support this candidate. they even had a war room that was specifically designed taking care of enrique peña nieto's image. that is why the youth uprising throughout the country in the last weeks or so important because it has burst the bubble that has made people think perhaps enrique peña nieto if not this pretty boy he has been made out to be. >> what about the third candidate in the race? the pan has ruled mexico for several years for the outside,
we're told mexico is actually economically in better shape now, although, there is more polarization and wealth, but better shape economically than ever before. why has the pan fallen so dramatically? >> those numbers are debatable. poverty has gone up in the last six years. that is the most important number for me. we have had some basic economic stability. but the economy has gone down 6.3%. it is the country that is most suffered in the global economic crisis, south america. they want to kick the panned out of power grid that is obvious. candidate -- it is the first time a woman has been running on a major party ticket, but she is way in the polls -- way down in the polls.
it is really about what kind of change they want. the change back toward the pri or the more progressive corruption-fighting agenda. >> the drug war, the significance of the backdrop of this raging drug war in mexico, john ackerman? >> once again, this is the central reason why the pan is most likely not going to be reelected in power. the interesting point is it has not been a central policy issue that has been debated between the candidates. basically, they all say we need to change the strategy, something else has to happen, particularly that mexico should be focusing principally on peace, reducing the violence on mexican soil, and not so worried
about doing the dirty work for washington and the drug war. this is something the united states government has started to get worried about and started putting pressure on enrique peña nieto. enrique peña nieto in response to the pressure, appointed the police chief for leaving columbia as his top organized- crime advisor. enrique peña nieto is sending a clear signal he at least once to continue on the same path as calderón following the dictates of north american drug war. >> tania molina, as in most elections, turnout will be a big issue. how many people come out to vote. what are the historic turnout levels for presidential elections and are you getting the sense or are polls showing more or fewer people will be voting this time? >> it seems more people will be voting.
again, yo soy 132 movement has a lot to do with it because before the movement, there was quite a because theygn were saying, we do not really agree with any of the three candidates, so let's just not turn up. after the yo soy 132, what they say is, "yes, you should vote." they are trying to get people to inform themselves about the vote, and they say it is very important that you vote. so this week, they have a campaign right before the elections, which is called "six days to save mexico." there on the public transport
telling people to vote. they are not with any political party, so they just say that you should inform yourself and vote and go to the polls. >> tania molina, the significance of the solidarity movement? chile student movement, the occupy movement in the united states, the chilean student leader coming to mexico? have you seen this before and what did she say? >> yes, we had the visit with the leader of the student movement -- well, one of the visible leaders of the student movement. she was here about two weeks ago. this was a visit that was a coincidence, but it was a great
coincidence for the movement. she was with the movement. she had a couple of mass reunions with them and with students and the general population. and she said, "thank you for putting the mainstream media as a target." because she said, "are student movement in chile, we always target government. we aim for a public education, but we had never targeted the other power, which is the media ." so she was saying it was a wonderful thing. she was very excited to be here. the movement was very excited to have her here. it was a great exchange of
experiences. so that was one of them. the other is with the occupy movement, there has been exchanges as well. there are people in spain that have gone with the mexican people, and all over the world as well there are several groups of yo soy 132 of mexicans that are outside. we have them in london, france, in several countries in europe. >> let us finally go to john ackerman to ask you about the role of the u.s. in these elections, if there is one. >> that is a big question but the united states for the u.s. government has been very attentive. joe biden had a surprise visit in february or march and he met with all three candidates. it was kind of unprecedented that a vice president would come
down right in the middle of the campaign or just before the campaigns were starting. all the three principal candidates met with him. it seems the u.s. government is particularly concerned about oil and drugs. and immigration, of course. those are the three big topics. i do not think any of the candidates offer radical changes here, although, one will have a more focus on mexican sovereignty and these issues. enrique peña nieto has really been doing a massive pr relationship with in the united states to make the u.s. sort of established and think he is the sickest candidate. but that is risky because enrique peña nieto has a very dark past as well. he and his party have been coming out or people have been coming out showing all different sorts of scandals in terms of leakages to the -- linkages to
corruption and the local states are governed by the pri and mexico are among the most violent and corrupt in the country. the return of the pri, although some in the u.s. government i see that as a positive thing, from my point of view, it would be bad for the u.s.-mexican relations because of the increase in violence and the lack of economic development this could bring about. >> john, on the campaigning of andrés manuel lópez obrador, after the 2006 election, he led a massive protests in town squares, challenging the results but reports are that this time around, he has moderated his language, sought to win over more middle-class mexicans to his party and his candidacy. do you have a sense -- is this accurate and hasn't had any impact in terms of boosting his
support? >> there are two sides. yes, six years ago he led a million person marched downtown demanding a full recount. i think it was an inspiration to many of us. lopez obrador took to the streets and demanded a full recount. it really galvanized society and led to a very important electoral reforms after the election. but it hurts them in terms of estranging him for more moderate voters. he has radically changed his message this year. he has garnered some really important support actually from business and trends. the city of monterey, for instance, has been governed by the local government by the hand, the pri. a large group of powerful men has said both the pan and pri are equally corrupt and we're willing to try something new and
lopez obrador is our candidate. his said, he is not a radical leftists. he is interested in transparency in combating corruption and bringing peace to mexico. new relations interestingly between lopez obrador and moderate class business interest in mexico, which has strengthened his campaign last few months. >> john ackerman, editor of the mexican law review and professor the national autonomous university of mexico, thank you for being with us. thank you, tania molina, a journalist but the main progressive national newspaper of mexico, producing a pamphlet for zuccotti park press by and about the yo soy 132 student movement in mexico. when we come back, eric holder may well be held in contempt by the house today, the house of representatives in washington, d.c., in a rare move.
republican lawmakers have accused holder of withholding documents about a gun running sting operation in the u.s.- mexico border code named "fast and furious." house speaker john boehner said the contempt vote was needed after talks with the white house bill to produce the documents. >> the american people have a right to know what happened. and we are going to proceed. we have given them opportunities to comply, even as late as yesterday. the white house sat down with some of our staff to outline what they would be willing to do. unfortunately, they are not willing to show the american people the truth about what happened. a >> last week president obama asserted executive privilege over the documents, his first use of executive privilege in response to congressional best vacation. democrats have called today's contempt vote a political stunt ahead of the november election. political reports members of the congressional black caucus plan to walk off the house floor during the vote.
>> now dispute is emerging over crucial details about the fast of curry is program. for months republican lawmakers have alleged u.s. agents encouraged the sale of thousands of guns to middlemen for mexican drug cartels to attempt to gain access to senior level figures within mexico's criminal organizations. federal agents then lost track of as many as 2500 guns. and the new six month investigation by "fortune" magazine concludes that federal agents "never intentionally allowed guns to fall into the hands of mexican drug cartels." we're joined by an award winning investigative reporter katherine eban who wrote the piece for "fortune." the piece is called, "the truth about the fast and furious scandal." >> thank you for having me. >> what is the truth? what's the truth is, for almost a year, atf agents tried in every way possible to seize the guns being purchased by straw purchasers for the cartels, but
were thwarted at every turn by prosecutors, who in their interpretation of the laws, said the purchases were illegal. >> any note in arizona that some of the weakest gun-control laws of any state of the union. >> absolutely. if you're 18 and have no criminal record, you can go into a gun dealership and put down cash and come out with 58 k-47's with no requirement of extra permits or waiting time. according to call this documentation i have reviewed, a prosecutor made the determination that the transaction that the agents were watching were in fact legal and did not have grounds to make the seizures or the arrests. >> you begin your piece by saying, in the annals a possible lost rank high. >> he was a group supervisor of
phoenix group 7 whose task was to oversee this unit that was dedicated to stopping guns from being tracked across the mexican border. he was the atf on first an agent of the year in 2009 for dismantling two of violent street gangs in minneapolis. the atf determined he was the best man for the job to tackle this assignment, but he went down to arizona and found himself in a kind of "alice in wonderland" of guns. and arizona, there's a gun dealer there who does not want to sell to straw purchasers. he has a sign on his door that says "1 ak-47 per customer per day." that is basically how you limit gun purchases. the situation was like nine he had ever encountered, and
prosecutors there and atf agents had clashed for years over the question of how and when you are able to seize guns spread across the article raises questions as to the way the atf has become almost dysfunctional because of congressional oversight over what it can do responding to the gun lobby internal battles within the agency, lack of a permanent leadership. could you talk about the problems the atf is facing? >> this is a bureau that has always been a poor stepchild first with the treasury department and then moved in homeland security under the justice department. it has not have permanent leadership for six years. there is no comprehensive real time data base of gun purchases in the united states, which would be absolutely easy to have. i mean, we certainly have the technology to do it. consequently, the only way atf agents can know if there are mass purchases of guns is
through this archeological exercise. >> and why is there no database? >> the nra has fought against it. it is prohibited. >> katherine eban, tells with the house republicans are, a handful of democrats who are going to vote against holders today, hold him in contempt, what is their theory of what happened? >> i cannot say what is in their head and the theory has changed as it has been promulgated over months, one of the theories is somehow there was a justice department cover-up of this operation and that they are withholding documents to conceal this from congress, therefore, eric holder should be held in contempt. >> but this is a conspiracy to regulate guns? >> yes. basically, allowing the
situation to become so bad, allowing these guns to get into the hands of mexican drug cartels would be a way to illustrate the need for gun control. but, i should hasten to add, that it was atf agents who were able to track and uncover the purchase of these guns without that, day after day, after an hour, guns poured across the mexican border and some estimates are as high as 2,000 tons a day or smuggled across the border. >> and what about these specific documents that eric holder is withholding according to congress? >> some people call this a fishing expedition. in theory, the documents being withheld our internal justice department documents that discuss how the justice department should respond to the congressional inquiry. so this is really far afield
from documents related to the actual fast and furious investigation. >> and the significance of the death of u.s. border patrol agent brian terry? >> that is what actually brought this whole dispute within groups 7 and to the public, which is in december 2011, a border patrol agent, brian terry, was gunned down on the border and two weapons found at the scene of his murder were linked to purchases by fast and furious suspects. now, these are guns that have been alleged were allowed to flow into the hands of mexican criminals who then killed brian terry, but in my reporting and according to a contemporaneously case report i obtained, the atf agents only learned about these guns three days after they were purchased. clearly, these are not guns they
allowed to walk. these are not guns they would have been able to seize under any theory. >> a spokesperson for the house oversight committee has refuted key arguments made in your article. he said the story was -- your response? >> there are many parts of that statement -- several weeks ago, rep isis said holders should lead or resign. you can get that from a two- second google search. i'm not sure i mischaracterized his statement there.
the information that they offered me is some of the same information they have been offering to journalists for a year. much of which has been accepted by the mainstream press. i chose, in my reporting and wayne the veracity of my sources and analyzing documents, that some of what they were offering me was either not relevant or not true. those are the kind of decisions you make in this kind of reporting when you put various facts on the scale. some of what they did tell me and shared with me is in the article. so, you know, i respectfully disagree with that statement. >> i want to play recent comment by the chair of the committee speaking this week on abc, accusing the obama administration of using the fast and furious sting operation to push for greater gun control legislation. >> we have emails from people
involved in this that are talking about using what they're finding here to support basically assault weapons ban or greater reporting. so chicken or egg? we don't know which came first and probably will not know. we do know during the fast and furious operation, there were emails in which they're saying we can use this as part of the additional reporting or things like assault weapons ban. the people involved saw the benefit of what they were gathering, whether or not that was the original purpose we probably will never know. >> that was the chairman. katherine eban, your final response? >> summit was called for by atf agents makes sense, which is that if an 18-year-old kid goes into a gun dealership and buys 15 ak-47's, it would be a good idea for the gun dealers to tell
atf agents that occurred. i mean, that is the reporting requirement that the administration is actually fought for. had that occurred, then they would have known it in real time about the guns that ended up killing brian terry. reporting requirement like that does not currently exist, but what is impose now has been imposed on a temporary basis. the nra is fighting it. you can debate, but the merits of this -- the idea that somehow the fast and furious operation was a plot to restrict gun rights, i don't see any evidence for that. >> if eric holder is held in contempt today, the significance of this? >> hard to say, because it is hard to say what will happen with that. is the justice department going to investigate eric holder and have him removed?
that is highly unlikely. some have said this is a largely symbolic content vote that is entirely political. >> katherine eban, thank you for being with us. herpes and "fortune" magazine is called, "the truth about the fast and furious scandal." we will be back in a moment. ♪ [music break] ♪ [music break]
>> this is "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. >> as the country waits for news today the supreme court's landmark ruling on the patient protection and affordable care act, we end today's broadcast looking at the state of our health-care system. that is the focus of a new documentary called, "escape fire: the fight to rescue american healthcare." here's a clip from the film featuring medical journalist shannon brownlee and dr. don roy, the former head of medicare
and medicaid. >> we spend a spectacular amount of money on health care. just sheer numbers, 2.7 trillion dollars per year. the average per capita cost of health care in the developed world is about $3,000 and in the u.s., around a thousand dollars annually. we spend one heck of a lot of money. >> the health-care system is not affordable anymore. who pays for that? it is all coming out of our pockets. it is your money. >> the really astonishing part about the fact we spend more is we have worse health outcomes. >> if you need serious technology today like complex cardiac surgery, you are lucky to be in this country. rescue care is second to none. as an overall system, no, we are not anywhere near the best in
the world. look at our results. our life span is done even in the top 20. -- is not even in the top 20. >> we have a disease-care system, a very profitable one. the disease-care system, if it was honest with itself, it does not want you to die and does not want you to get well. it just wants to keep coming back for your care of your chronic disease. >> medical journalist shannon brownlee and dr. don barr, former head of medicare and medicaid from "escape fire: the fight to rescue american healthcare." the film also follows the dramatic human stories of people fighting to transform healthcare from the highest levels of medicine industry government and even u.s. military. for more we're joined by the film's director matt heineman began making the film in 2009 before the political firestorm erupted over president obama's airbill. only today.
why the title? >> it draws on a metaphor dr. don for wic draws from us today from 1949 -- draws from 1949, fighting the fire and realized the wind shift of directions the running of the offer dear life and the leader came up with a solution. he lit a match and during the area around him read it is now known as a escape fire. he calls all the men to join him, but nobody did and kept running up the hill for dear life. i think the metaphor is strong that there are very simple solutions are around us. our health-care system is burning. why can we pay attention -- what cannot be attention to these solutions?
>> why did you decide to make this film? >> many americans are confused about health care. it has become a political football thrown back and forth for both sides of washington. how did this perverse system come to be? people are trying to change it. >> in this clip, medical journalist shannon brownlee and dr. leslie cho of the cleveland clinic describe the fee-for- service approach to health care. >> the vast majority of doctors in this country are paid by a fee-for-service system. that simply means they get paid for each office visit, if their surgeons they get paid for each procedure, if it is a radiologist they get paid for each c.t. scan the deliver. >> if i spent five minutes with you and put in one of these stents, and probably get paid
$1,500. for me to spend 45 minutes unestablished visit with a patient to make sure they're doing what they should and try to figure out what their true problem is, i would probably get paid $15. it is a completely irrational system. >> fee-for-service rewards physicians for doing more. it does not reward them from doing a better job or reward them for keeping their patients healthy, but rewards them for delivering more care. >> i want to play a comment from dr. erin martin, a primary- care physician who you interviewed in "escape a fire." she describes her frustration with having to treat a high volume of patients with not enough time for preventative care. >> instead of basing things on outcomes, and on how good a job we're doing, the government sets the reimbursement completely on the number of patients that we see. it does not matter how
complicated they are, how much time we spend on them, just a number. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. you have to play this game with, what does this patient need? how much time in my willing to spend the because the administration is saying, we are in the red and you need to spensee more patients. i'm not interested in getting our productivity up, i am interested in helping the patience. >> that is dr. erin martin, a primary-care physician who you interviewed in "escape fire." your solution-oriented, these stories. >> the story of dr. martin is really the story of a primary care physician who is an idealist. they want to practice medicine, but is handcuffed by the system. she is not allowed to practice medicine as she wishes message
of the film, we of a disease- care system, not a health care system. it is not toward help or prevention, but high-tech inventions. >> you highlight companies that dramatically have been able to lower their costs by going into preventative mode. >> we have the story of a corporation that is recognizing rising health-care costs and providing incentives to employees to stop smoking, lower cholesterol, not only cut costs and improve the health of their employees. >> and veterans. you talk about care for soldiers. >> in the military, they have a huge problem of over medication and suicide. they are looking at out of the box ideas, giving acupuncture, meditation and other forms of alternative therapy in lieu of drugs.
>> matt heineman, the film opens around the country in october called, "escape fire: the fight to rescue american healthcare." matt heineman is the director. that is today's show. at 10:00 eastern standard time this morning, we will be broadcasting live from the steps of the supreme court to getting reaction around the country, including filmmaker michael moore. [captioning made possible by democracy now!] 06/28/12 06/28/12 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] democracy now!]